I know that the title of this entry might give some the idea that I was unimpressed with the surroundings. I wouldn’t say that was the case, but at points, I felt eerily at home in this foreign place. The rainforests were covered in lichens and mosses; the trees were evergreen, so even if they weren’t cedar and fir trees, when they were covered in mosses they looked similar. The mountains leading out to the sound were shale and slate (they called something else – sounded like shisksa, but I think that is Jewish for something else). So it was strangely familiar. I’m not sure that it was worth the funds to fly down there to go out to Milford Sound, but it did satisfy my curiosity, and it was still very very beautiful by all standards. But when you’ve grown up in a very similar environment, it is difficult to make that kind of fresh impact.
But back to the journey – it started out with a coffee at Subway and me meeting a girl from Saskatoon who actually had friends in Coronach, SK (Coronach is a town of about 1000 people on the border between SK and Montana). Then, I met my next friend,a German girl named Claudia. The bus trip again was quite pleasant, where we got to stop every couple of hours for a washroom break. We went past Lake Wakatipu, which is around 300m deep in places and has a year round temperature of about 10degrees celsius, so it is really too cold to swim in, even in the warmest months (it only gets to be 25degrees or so around that area). So this beautiful huge lake is relatively undeveloped.
Wander down the road a bit more, into the town of Athol. They even had a school of Athol. I tried to get a picture of that school for my dad, as I’m sure he went there as a kid, but the bus was driving too fast.
First stop, Te Anau. Ie – Tourist Trap. I bought water, went and checked email for the first time in a couple of days, then got back on the bus.
The rest of the trip out to the Sound got more and more fantastic as the journey went on. Luckily it had been a very mild winter in Central Otago, so there wasn’t any risk of avalanches or any weird snowstorms that would sneak up on us. Even the valley that we got to just up from the Sound was fog-free, which for this time of year was amazing as the driver told us.
The final destination was the cruise around the sound. Luckily it had been raining a fair deal, but it was just starting to be sunny, so that meant that we could stand outside and take pictures, that there would be some rainbows and that all of the waterfalls were visible. The trip was nice, I had a bite to eat on board, and then wandered around and took pictures. (There are more pics of Milford Sound on my flickr site as well).
The trip back was uneventful. We pulled in at 8pm, I got some groceries and wandered back to the Bumbles (my hostel) and read a bit of “Ham on Rye” and went to sleep… this time in preparation for my wine tour the next day.